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Legislative Update from Brenda Dietrich
 

Post-Turnaround


The month of March has become very busy at the Capitol!  Many bills in both Chambers were “blessed” before Turnaround (the half-way point) in our calendar and are moving through committees and headed to the floor of the Senate.  We will soon be voting on bills the House sent our way. Just as a reminder, last year the House introduced 454 bills and the Senate introduced 315 bills.  At the end of the session, only 116 bills were passed by both chambers and became law.

Before we get to the action on the Senate floor…..….I wanted to share some things that I have been involved in the past week.
 

Visitors at the Capitol


It has been a busy week!  We had Parents as Teachers Day at the Capitol on Wednesday where we received a book to read to a toddler in the Rotunda…on the floor!  Getting down on the floor was easy, but getting back up was not pretty!  I got to read to Harper who came to the Capitol with his mother last week.  We had a great time.

Contact Brenda


The same day we had students from Manhattan High School’s orchestra and choir, and music students from Marysville celebrating Music Education in our schools.  The students from Marysville were on the 4th floor serving breakfast. You can see them in the picture below.  Their teacher came to the Senate Education Committee to present on all the wonderful opportunities students have in Kansas schools to engage in music programs.
 

On Thursday, I met with WRHS senior, Alexandra Polling, who was part of the Tobacco Free Kids event in the Rotunda where they hosted the Vape Exhibit from the Kaufman Museum.  We had a wonderful conversation about her group’s advocacy and initiatives on the importance of keeping teenagers healthy and tobacco free.  Alexandra paged for me when she was in Middle School!
 

My Senate District has the only HyVee grocery store in Topeka, so it was my pleasure to meet with the store Manager, Jordan Eslick and the Director of Government Relations, Emily Ibach.  We talked about their priorities and the remodeling project at the store which will accommodate a drive-through grocery pick-up lane.  Great visit!
 

On Monday, the Legislature was not in session, so I took the opportunity to deliver a Senate Tribute to WRHS Theatre Director, Maeghan Bishop, and her students who were selected to perform “The Book of Will” on the mainstage at the International Thespian Festival this June.  Such an honor!!   
 

At the Capitol

 
SENATE CONFIRMATIONS
 
Board of Regents

This week, the Kansas Senate confirmed three nominees to the Kansas Board of Regents – Carl Ice, Wint Winter, and Cynthia Lane.  All three had been serving on the board since last summer, when they were originally nominated and approved by the Confirmation Oversight Committee, but the full Senate needed to confirm the nominees for them to remain in service. I voted YES on all of the confirmations.
 
Wint Winter was confirmed on a vote of 24-9.
Cynthia Lane was confirmed on a vote of 23-11
Carl Ice was confirmed on a vote of 38-0.

Other Confirmations

In addition to the Board of Regents, the Senate confirmed these candidates to the Kansas Employment Security Board of Review, 37-0.
 
Pamela Pierce
Amber Neises
Connor Cross
Dawn McClure
 
Constitutional Amendments
 
On Tuesday, Senate President Ty Masterson introduced two constitutional amendments to reform the selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court.
  • Federal Model.  SCR 1621 would change the system to something similar to the federal model by allowing the governor to nominate someone of their choice, but that nominee would be subject to Senate confirmation.  This model is used in several states throughout the country and for the United States Supreme Court.
  • Direct Elections. SCR 1622 would change the system to direct partisan elections held every six years.  It is also used by a few other states.
On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, held a hearing on both proposed amendments. 

Next Week we have lots of hearings in our committees.  Here are mine:

Transportation Committee

Hearings on:

HB 2458 — Designating a portion of U.S. Highway 56 as the PFC Shane Austin memorial highway.
HB 2478 — Designating a portion of United States Highway 166 as the SGT Evan S Parker memorial highway.
SB 529 — Providing for the electronic renewal of non-driver's identification cards. Informational hearing.

Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee

Hearings on:

HB 2510 — Up-dating certain investment limitation requirements to provide increased options for Kansas domiciled life insurance companies investing in equity interests and preferred stock.
HB 2547 — Authorizing technology-enabled fiduciary financial institution insurance companies within the Captive Insurance Act and providing for the requirements and operations thereof.
HB 2568 — Amending the Kansas Mortgage Business Act by providing for mortgage business work at remote locations, license and registration renewal or reinstatement procedures, surety bond requirements and evidence of solvency and net worth requiring notice when adding or closing branch offices.
HB 2110 — Requiring insurance coverage for PANS and PANDAS by the state health care benefits program and requiring the state employee health care commission to submit an impact report on such coverage to the legislature.

Commerce Committee

Hearings on:

SB 361 — Concerning an employer's maximum liability for permanent total disability compensation and requiring an employer to pay such disabled employee during the continuance of such disability from the date of maximum medical improvement for the lifetime of the employee at the weekly rate of the compensation in effect on the date of injury for which compensation is being made.
SB 505 — Enacting the “Protect Home-based Work Act” prohibiting the enactment or enforcement of zoning regulations that are barriers to home-based work.
HB 2703 — Making changes to employment security law provisions regarding the employment security fund and employer contribution rates, the definition of employment to conform with federal law and various updates to the My Reemployment Plan program, including making the program mandatory with certain exceptions, and providing that the Secretary of Commerce may require participation by claimants in reemployment services.

Education Committee

Hearings on:

SB 484 — Enacting the Fairness in Women's Sports Act to require that student athletics teams only include members who are of the same biological sex unless designated as coed.
SB 455 — Allowing K-12 students to transfer to and attend school in any school district in the state.
SB 528 — Requiring school districts to provide a reimbursement to teachers for classroom supplies.

You can follow what is happening in Committee rooms and on the floor of the Senate Chamber on-line.  Here are the links:

Kansas Legislature YouTube – Here you can follow the legislature live as it happens, or access archives of past sessions and committee meetings.

Kansas Legislature Audio – Here you can listen in on session or committees when they are in session, or access prior committee meetings, as well.

Kansas Legislature website – www.kslegislature.org - has extensive information on legislators, committees, bills, and past sessions.
 

Contact Me

If you have any questions about the activities in my committees or want to share your views on any of the issues before the legislature, please feel free to email me or call my office. 

          Brenda Dietrich
          Room 223-E, State Capitol Building
          300 SW 10th St.
          Topeka, KS 66612
          785-296-7648
 
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